In Fall 2010, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, J.D. ’70, was selected to preside over more than 300 lawsuits brought by fishermen, rig workers and others, stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The trial was scheduled to begin March 5, but BP and the plaintiffs’ attorneys agreed to settle. On March 8, Barbier ordered a court-appointed administrator to oversee the process of the settlement.
A hearing was held in July 2010 in Boise, Idaho, by a seven-judge panel, known as the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, to decide how to tie together hundreds of spill-related lawsuits.
Thomas Sims of the law firm Baron & Budd, P.C., which argued for Barbier to oversee the consolidated cases, said, “Barbier will be a great judge. He knows how to work with plaintiffs and defendants to get the case moving forward with minimal court involvement.”
In addition, Barbier has also handled many cases related to Hurricane Katrina, including the first federal trial in Louisiana in 2007 brought by policyholders against State Farm Insurance over damage from the devastating 2005 hurricane.
Barbier has strong ties to the Gulf Coast region. A native of New Orleans, he attended Southeastern Louisiana University and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He was in private practice for several years in New Orleans before former President Bill Clinton called him for the federal bench in 1998. Barbier is a 14-year veteran of the federal bench.
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